When was the last time you took a full, deep breath?
Like, really deep.
One which filled your chest, then your belly with air, then let it out – slowly. Fully.
Try it. Feels good, huh?
Most of us don’t breath fully except in the occasional yoga class. Why? Because we’re all running around feeling tense and stressed.
Did you know November 1st is National Stress Awareness Day?
Managing stress is super important because too much stress leads to too much cortisol, a hormone that is released to help our body respond to stress.
A little bit is a good thing. Too much can prevent you from losing weight, cause you to gain weight, lead to cravings and wreak havoc on your adrenal glands.
If you’re living in an over-stressed state, here are five techniques that can help manage stress and make you more relaxed and happy.
1. Yoga. This truly changed my life. After practicing yoga once a week for a few months, I had a completely different outlook on life. I can’t say enough how much yoga did for me. If you’re skeptical, I urge you to give it a try for a few weeks. Find a class near you with a good instructor that moves at your speed. Keep at it until you find just the right one.
2. Go for a walk. Most of us don’t get to spend enough time in nature. Vitamin D and fresh air are wonderful de-stressors. If you’re having a rough day at work and risk losing your cool, try getting up and taking a brisk walk. Maybe pop in your headphones and listen to music or a podcast. A quick stroll is sometimes enough to calm you right back down.
3. Hug it out. There is nothing like a hug from a friend, significant other, child or a pet to soothe your nerves. In fact studies show pets have an instant calming effect. So if you’re stressing or tense, try getting some snuggle time with your favorite person or animal.
4. Exercise. Have you ever been upset about something, went for a run and immediately felt better? Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel happy! It is also a great stress reliever. There is nothing better than pushing out a hard workout after a rough day. I tell clients to channel whatever they are stressed about into their workout, then let it go. Leave it on the gym floor in a pile of sweat and move on.
5. Laugh. It sounds cliche but laughter truly is the best medicine. And in this day and age, a funny movie or meme is only a click away. When stress strikes, grab your phone and pull up YouTube. A few genuine belly laughs will clear your head and have you feeling better in no time.
Unfortunately stress is a fact of life. Few of us can get through each day without anything ruffling our feathers. But not managing that stress is not only bad for your long-term health and short-term happiness, it is a deal-breaker for fat loss.
Try these five tips to help stay cool, calm and collected when stress strikes. And of course, don’t forget to breathe!